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EASP – European Association of Social Psychology

EASP Seedcorn Grant Report by Gilad Feldman

21.05.2018, by Sibylle Classen in grant report

Maastricht University, The Netherlands and University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong; Project: Mass-Replication of Classic Findings in Judgement and Decision Making

Neoclassical economics theories assumed humans are rational actors, yet psychological science provided substantial evidence that people often act irrationally, with a long list of cognitive and behavioral biases that lead to sub-optimal and often dysfunctional decision making by individuals, institutions, and societies. These findings have had a tremendous impact on almost every domain in life (e.g. law, medicine, economics, policy) and the study of the irrational mind has been identified by governments around the world as key in promoting a better functioning and healthier society.

The EASP seedcorn funds offered me the possibility to launch a mass-replication effort for 10+ replications of classic findings in judgement and decision making in aim to first replicate these effects and then to allow examining links between the effects and serve as a basis for future study of the irrational mind on a broader level at the intersection of these effects.

Together with 25 students and a teaching assistant (TA) at the University of Hong Kong in the Advanced Social Psychology course (PSYC3052), we conducted well-powered pre-registered replications of studies in 11 articles. Each article was analyzed by two students independently, who then designed the experiments on Qualtrics and wrote a pre-registered replication reports using the latest templates (pre-registrations: van ‘t Veer & Giner-Sorolla, 2016; replication recipe: Brandt et al., 2014). The two students then reviewed each other's work and received feedback from the TA and myself to make final revisions. I then pre-registered the studies on the Open Science Framework (OSF) and proceeded to conduct data collection on Amazon Mechanical Turk. The collected data was analyzed by the two students independently according to the pre-registration plan and each wrote a summary report. The findings were presented by each pair jointly to the class. The students reviewed each other's work and received feedback from the TA to make final revisions and proceed to conclude a full manuscript. The TA and myself have guided and provided feedback and support throughout the process, with detailed step-by-step guides and answering queries on a public WIKI.

We concluded 8 successful replications, 1 inconclusive, 1 failed replications, and 1 failed replication due to problematic cross-cultural/language translation. All course materials and all reports, including pre-registrations, data, and code, will be made publicly available on the OSF by the end of 2018. I aim to finalize summarizing these findings based on the student reports and submit these to publication.

The reactions to the project from the students, colleagues, and the university have been enthusiastic, and we plan to implement this on an ongoing basis in this and other courses in the next academic year with other studies.

All designed Qualtrics experiments are planned to serve as the basis for an online data collection platform to allow continuous data collection to begin examining links between different biases to attempt mapping of the irrational mind.

Studies included in the mass-replication effort:

  1. Arkes and Blumer (1985) - Studies 1 and 4
  2. Cushman et al (2008) - Study 1
  3. Greene et al (2002) - Study 1b
  4. Malle Knobe (1997) - Study 1
  5. Pronin & Kugler (2007) - Studies 1 and 1a
  6. Pronin & Kugler (2010) - Study 1
  7. Pronin et al (2002) - Studies 1b and 2
  8. Pronin et al (2007) - Study 1
  9. Royzman & Baron (2002) - Studies 1 and 2
  10. Tykocinski et al. (1995) - Studies 1 and 2
  11. Wong & Kwong (2000) - Study 1


  1. Arkes, H. R., & Blumer, C. (1985). The psychology of sunk cost. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 35(1), 124-140.
  2. Cushman, F., Knobe, J., & Sinnott-Armstrong, W. (2008). Moral appraisals affect doing/allowing judgments. Cognition, 108(1), 281-289.
  3. Greene, J. D., Cushman, F. A., Stewart, L. E., Lowenberg, K., Nystrom, L. E., & Cohen, J. D. (2009). Pushing moral buttons: The interaction between personal force and intention in moral judgment. Cognition, 111(3), 364-371.
  4. Malle, B. F., & Knobe, J. (1997). The folk concept of intentionality. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 33(2), 101-121.
  5. Pronin, E., & Kugler, M. B. (2007). Valuing thoughts, ignoring behavior: The introspection illusion as a source of the bias blind spot. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 43(4), 565-578.
  6. Pronin, E., & Kugler, M. B. (2010). People believe they have more free will than others. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(52), 22469-22474.
  7. Pronin, E., Berger, J., & Molouki, S. (2007). Alone in a crowd of sheep: asymmetric perceptions of conformity and their roots in an introspection illusion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92(4), 585.
  8. Pronin, E., Lin, D. Y., & Ross, L. (2002). The bias blind spot: Perceptions of bias in self versus others. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28(3), 369-381.
  9. Royzman, E. B., & Baron, J. (2002). The preference for indirect harm. Social Justice Research, 15(2), 165-184.
  10. Tykocinski, O. E., Pittman, T. S., & Tuttle, E. E. (1995). Inaction inertia: Foregoing future benefits as a result of an initial failure to act. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68(5), 793.
  11. Wong, K. F. E., & Kwong, J. Y. Y. (2000). Is 7300 m equal to 7.3 km? Same semantics but different anchoring effects. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 82(2), 314-333.
  12. Brandt, M. J., IJzerman, H., Dijksterhuis, A., Farach, F. J., Geller, J., Giner-Sorolla, R., ... & Van't Veer, A. (2014). The replication recipe: What makes for a convincing replication? Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 50, 217-224.
  13. van't Veer, A. E., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2016). Pre-registration in social psychology—A discussion and suggested template. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 67, 2-12.